I bet you’ve watched one of those stereotypical Hollywood movies that portray temping as a last ditch resort for those who haven’t found a career path yet. The main character is coasting along insignificantly, with no real purpose, perhaps working for an evil boss who has them do everything from tidying the mail room, to shining their shoes, and walking their dog. Temp work is used as a signifier that this character has no direction or purpose in life.
I think that some of the negative press around temping comes primarily from a lack of education on the topic but also from the misinformation that we are fed about it—like in the movie example— without even realising.
I decided to write this blog to break some of the stigma surrounding temping and highlight some of the benefits, by sharing my own story. Then anyone who is on the fence can be fully informed and able choose whether temporary work is right for them.
I first arrived in New Zealand over two years ago. Fresh off the boat, I registered with Madison as a temp, keen to get my foot in the door, get back to work, and back to earning money after five months of travelling through Asia. This was my first ever experience with a recruitment agency and I’ll admit I was hesitant at first. It wasn’t a service I had considered using before. Perhaps this was due to another common misconception, one that I have heard echoed from my peers too. The myth: recruiters only care about making money, and don’t have your best interests in mind.
Despite my initial misgivings I was pleasantly surprised. Over the next 12 months I would work on three temporary assignments, in Auckland and Wellington. I worked in Insurance, Print and Primary Industries, all were customer service roles, as was my background. I don’t believe I would have had the chance to work for these companies if I had taken a different approach. I wanted to experience all that New Zealand had to offer by setting up in all the major cities, but I only wanted to commit to a few months at a time before moving on. Temping was the perfect way to get working fast in a new place, and meet new people. I never waited long to be offered an assignment and my consultants consistently checked up to make sure I was enjoying the role.
A year later, I had most of the travel out of my system, and I returned to Auckland. By this point I had built a strong relationship with Madison, and had gained some excellent experience and solid feedback from my assignments. I then accepted a temporary assignment on a project at the Madison office for a few weeks until they found another role for me. I had just accepted my favourite job to date! I loved the people and the role immediately, and discovered it was something I wanted to pursue a career in. It was the perfect match.
I believe that one of the key reasons that prevents candidates from considering temp or contract roles as a ‘serious’ route is because of the uncertainty of where the opportunity may lead. Obviously career progression is an important factor when considering a new role. However, taking a temp role can be a perfect opportunity for you to take the company or industry of interest for a test drive, and you may well find it is your next career. Or not – but that’s the beauty of it. It can be useful to know if something is NOT right for you as well. The message we have ingrained in us is that we should have an exact idea of what it is we want to do from the get go and if we don’t we’re failing—which is just not the case.
Of course, there is no guarantee that a temp role that you love will convert to a permanent position but it’s definitely a step in the right direction, and a fool proof way to show the company both your work ethic, and your value.
To sum up, the temporary employment process is simple, fast and connects you to the right people in record time. The exposure and long-term prospects gained are invaluable. Temping allows you to build your CV, working for reputable companies. You may be able to kick-start your career if you’re not certain of which direction to take, or if you have limited time to which you can commit. Temping can open up a whole world of opportunities you didn’t even know about!
Temping was the perfect way for me to figure out what it was I loved to do. Sometimes it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey. I found the perfect job for me, and now I get to help others do the same on a daily basis. So I would definitely recommend you take the plunge!
If you would like to have a chat about your job search and discuss how temping could be the right route for you, why not email me at Brydie.firstname.lastname@example.org